Visit on Sukagalih

On July 27th, I visited Sukagalih village with Mr.Teguh Hartono, his daughter Aulia and Dwi Setyorini as a translator.

March 7, 2021

The reason why I wanted to visit there is because I would like to know how people are living with national park, before coming there, I have heard from Professor of IPB that Sukagalih village is well know for good forest management, so I decided to visit the village. First, I met Mr. Kosar (Absolute) at his house and learn general information on Sukagalih, according to him, the village was formed in 1960s, they have been practicing tumpang sari from 1980s, which means that their land belongs to Ministry of Forestry and that they were allowed using the land for agriculture. Instead of taking care of forest growing there. People living there support their lives by tourism and agriculture, and there are two groups which organize tourism activity and agriculture: The farmer is Kelompok Pelestari Alam and the latter is Selaras. They have been protecting their, forest event in the time of political change (1998-) and disastrous deforestation occurred, because of their clear consciousness of protecting forest, the government trust on them very much.

Then we move to sukagalih village, surrounded by beautiful rice terraces, a stream and tropical trees, there were colorful houses of villagers, Mr. Kosar took us to the forest area which belong to Gunung Halimun Salak National Park. Damar trees (Agathis Alba) were growing very high, and below the trees there were kapulaga and coffee, kapulaga bear red fruits and they can be used as medicine as well as spice. According to villagers, national park staff recommended them to grow it, in the forest we could also see the campsite for tourist, I was surprised to hear that 230 people enjoyed stay here recently.

After that, I could have a chance to discuss with villagers and a national park officer at common spice at the village. They told me about patrolling activity to monitor illegal logging. According to them, they were protecting the forest by individual before the national park was established, but after the establishment, they began collective forest management. During the discussion, I`ve noticed that the relationship among villagers, national park and NGO staffs like Mr. Kosar and Mr. Teguh is very close. It seems that they are trying to achieve the same purpose, which is to sustain the forest, despite of their different positions. I was also surprised at villagers eagerness to learn good management of forest. From my point of view, their activity seems to be running very well now but they still want to improve it, I thought their positive attitude has been a key for supporting collaborative forest management between government, NGOs and Villagers.

That night, we enjoyed a home stay in Bapa Sanukuli and Ibu Sariana house, They were living in a traditional house with a furnace and they served us fried bananas, potatoes and sticky rice, eating these nice food with drinking hot tea, I felt like I was at home.

Next morning, I got up with the calls of goats in the backyard, after we warmed up our bodies with coffee served by Ibu Sariana, we ate breakfast (nasi goreng) at the common space and left there for Ciptagelar village, when we say goodbye to the head persons of villagers groups, I promised that I would tell my experience here to my Japanese friends, I really wish they could keep their lives and forests here under the cooperation with national park and NGOs.